Dreamforce on a shoestring

The buzz around Dreamforce slowly starts with call for presentations and we can expect the registration will open any time soon. It is probably already late to ask your company to send you there as the budgetting season is over, but there is still a chance and you can propose to do it really on a budget.

Dreamforce is expensive

By default, this conference is expensive. Not just because the tickets are not cheap, but the associated costs are even higher.

How much can you expect to pay?

  • Dreamforce admission is around $1800
  • flight tickets (from Europe) is around $1000
  • hotel is about $600 per night, which makes it the biggest expense
  • some extra food, coffee and gifts – not relevant compared to the rest

That’s really a lot of money. But it is good to know, that there are ways how to make it WAYYY cheaper.

How to save costs

We have three main areas and you can save on all of them.

Admission

  • be a speaker – I suppose, they’ll get it for free;
  • become an MVP – they should have it for free as well, but you probably won’t make it this year;
  • be a reporter/blogger – you can ask for free ticket, but it has to be approved;
  • work for NGO – NGOs get a huge discount for their employees, this might be a way;
  • negotiate hard with Salesforce, that you want to get the tickets as a gift – no guarantee 🙂
  • write to Marc Benioff and ask for free ticket – exactly the same did David Liu a while ago (no guarantee as well).

Air tickets

I wrote an article about cheap tickets a while ago and (for those who understand Czech language) can recommend Travel Bible book with a lot of tips how to save on trips as well.

General recommendation – fly a few days in advance and make a short holiday. I’ve been able to get tickets for $700 last year and know about people who get them for $500 – call it 50 % discount compared to expected price.

Hotel

I don’t know about you, but I’m away from my room the whole day and crush on a bed just for a few hours. Complete waste to spend so much money on hotel – at least for me.

You can do couchsurfing, but that isn’t the best idea. It is really hard to find a free couch especially for more than two nights, and it also isn’t nice to your host not to spend time with him/her – couchsurfing is about meeting new people, not just about the couch. And you want to spend nights at parties.

You can find something nice on AirBnB, but I didn’t find something really cheap there last time. You can also try Overnight and spend each night at different place – not the greatest idea.

Last year I stayed in a hostel, which was right in the city center (San Francisco International Hostel). My room had en-suite bathroom and there were 4 beds. I was always the latest to come and first to leave, so no one disturbed my sleep. And I paid $200 for the whole week, „breakfast“ included. Sounds like a great deal to me.

It can be cheap – GO!

Dreamforce doesn’t have to be expensive and you can fit in $1000. That’s something you can pay from your pocket after all. The experience is great, so many people, so many different topics and presentation, awesome atmosphere. I know you can watch most sessions on-line, but being there is something else. At least for me it is hard to dedicate time „just“ to watching sessions on-line.

Check my notes from last year and don’t forget, that San Francisco is beautiful city and you can spend those extra days as a tourist. To me, the trip was worth every dollar.

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